Home Automation: What You Need and What You Don't
The futuristic look of the famous Jetson’s cartoon may not actually be so far off in the distance. In fact, some of today’s home automation technology has the real world looking even more advanced than the Jetson’s fantasy. With home automation electronics, you can program your lights to turn on as you enter a room and turn off when you leave it. You can program your music and television shows to follow you to different computer screens and speakers as you move throughout the house. Anything that uses electricity can be curbed to fit your exact schedule and needs. You only need to learn a few basics about the way home automation electronics work and then a world of automated simplicity waits at your fingertips.
A Basic Understanding of Home Automation
Home automation electronics may be used to program all of the appliances in your home that are connected to the electrical wiring in your walls. That includes pretty much everything with an on/off button. You need an internet connection and a home automation software program to create a database of all the electronics you want to be able to control. Then, you can input your preferences to automatically determine when and how your appliances will function. You can also use a remote control to change settings.
How Does the Automation Actually Work?
Home automation electronics are dependent on transmitters and receivers to work. All of your electrical appliances are receivers because they are on the receiving end of the electrical circuit that your transmitter – or remote control – sends out. These messages between transmitter and receiver get sent in two ways: over the electrical wires or through radio wave networks. Information passed along the electrical wires uses a technology called X-10 to allow compatible products to talk to each other. ZigBee and Z-wave are the two most popular radio networks used in home automation. X-10 and ZigBee and Z-wave can all be used in home automation programming, but you will need to purchase a bridging device if you’ll be joining X-10 and radio wave appliances.
Summary of Required Home Automation Electronics Components:
- Computer with an internet connection
- Home automation software program
- Remote control with keypad
- Bridging device if you’ll be joining X-10 and Z-wave appliances
Products to Enhance Your Home Automation Electronics Options:
- Security system with cameras and motion sensors
- Video door phone
- Lights with Dimmers
- Home theater and/or speaker system
- Programmable thermostat
- Voice recognition software
There are many, many add-ons and products available to enhance your home automation system. However, the most important thing to remember is that home automation electronics are meant to simplify your life. If you tend to get overwhelmed with new technology, then start small. Invest in a very basic home automation network that takes care of your daily needs, such as lighting and temperature. Once you feel more comfortable with the technology, you can move on to programming other electrical appliances in your home one step at a time. Good luck!
Author Sirena Rubinoff is a writer based in California. She specializes in budget decorating solutions. Ask Sirena how to decorate for less.